What is in fact the true truth, the truth of truth, is the truth which concerns really, the real
After listening to French Professor Alain Badiou’s lecture on Philosophy and Lacan, I feel a bit like a microbe in an ocean of knowledge, illustrated by this comic:
Anyways…this Lacan lecture is available online; it is heavy but interesting. I’ve transcribed selected parts of the lecture for myself because it helps me to remember and internalize what is being communicated. These fragments may be helpful should you decide to follow Badiou’s train of thoughts in his accented english. So…here is the lecture in its full length; and underneath you’ll find certain quoted transcripts of passages which interest me, arranged in a non-chronological order. I may or may not update little by little . Errors and adjustments may occur as a result of attempting to pin down the verbal.
All genuine thinking is free (…)
The call of a great artist gives the form of an oeuvre doing thinking (…)
Lacan and Philosophy [is] not a simple question (…)
There are (…) three striking points.
1. the work of Lacan is full of precise references to practically all great classical philosophers. (…)
2. (…) the explicit position of Lacan is not at all a philosophical one. On the contrary, Lacan uses the word anti-philosophy to describe the relationship between psychoanalysis and philosophy.
3. (…) Lacan affirms that all his original ideas come not (…) from a philosophical and abstract background, but (…) from his practice (…)
The relationship between Lacan and Philosophy is a philosophical question. (…)
The very nature of Lacanian experience as an experience related to thinking. (…) I call thinking the non-dialectical or inseparable unity of the theory and the practice. (…) What is interesting for a philosopher is to compare psychoanalysis with other thinkings like science or politics. Of course, the practices are completely different, but that doesn’t prevent the thinkings from having some common characteristics. (…)
The comparison of two thinkings is possible (…) they can educate one another. (…) So we encounter two types of thinkings, but where can two types of thinkings encounter each-other? They can only do so in philosophy, that is the point. (…)
The conception of what is, exactly, the relationship between different sorts of thinking, is a very fundamental philosophical problem…the relationship between physics and biology, relationship between mathematics and physics, the relationship between mathematics and economy, the relationship between science and art and so on, are very fundamental problems of a philosophical nature. We can construct this sort of problem only in a conceptual framework of a philosophical nature (…) We can say (…) that truth is a philosophical concept, maybe the most important philosophical concept from the very beginning of philosophy. (…) What is in fact the true truth, the truth of truth, is the truth which concerns really, the real. (…)
If philosophy in its more classical definition is the search of truth, maybe the definition of the psychoanalysis is the same – it is also the search for truth…of the subject. (…)
One can put it in this way: how does the truth touch the real?
For myself (…) truth is a process, opened by an event (…) For Lacan, truth is not at all an adequation between language and thing or thought and thing. (…)
The question of truth is (…) the question of a process…the becoming (…)
Between thought and the real, there is a hole, an abyss, a void. (…)
The absolute truth is the final presentation of its proper disappearing: at the end you have the absolute truth but the absolute truth is also the disappearing of itself as a final resolution of the whole process. The absolute absolves itself of its proper absolute. (…)
[There is a] necessity of a collective organization of knowledge (…) And why this necessity? Because if the concrete situations are singular and unrepeatable, you can only verify your thinking in a subjective manner, by transmission to others. In the scientific field, you can organize the repetition of the situation, verified by the fact that experiments repeat the situation, but it is impossible if the situation (…) cannot be repeated, so the transmission, the verification is in a subjective manner and take the form of pure transmission in a collective context (…) What can be done when there is no repetition, neither demonstrative nor experimental? One must then show to other people the relation between the statements or writings and the singular process. You are to show and to transmit directly this relationship between the generality of writing of theories and the pure singularity of the case. An organization is therefore necessary, in which the assessment of unrepeatable experiences is discussed (…) You must obtain the subjective agreement of those with whom you are organized, they must recognize that there is indeed a relation between, on the one hand your statements and writings and theories, and on the other, the singularity of the case. (…)
So to the point concerning Lacan and philosophy (…) I think the entire problem is that of the localization of the void (…) in the extraordinary work of Hegel, it is a metaphysical category (…) which has a sort of ubiquity (…) Philosophy and Lacan agree that truth is separation, not adequation (…) that the real is irreducible (…) Philosophy and psychoanalysis agree that truth is different from knowledge (…) or as Lacan says: «unrealisable» (…) All philosophical tradition is founded on the idea that being is supposed to think. And for Lacan this action is unacceptable. Thought must be an effect of the subject and not a supposition concerning being. (…) The localization of the void in the subject is also a philosophical tradition (…) The identification to the effect of «Being and Nothingness» is precisely the fundamental position of Sartre. (…)
There is a sort of tension and maybe (…) a contradiction: How can one obtain knowledge of the truth (which is the goal of psychoanalysis) if the content of that truth is precisely what cannot be known? (…) it is why it is «unconscious». But on the other hand, the goal of psychoanalysis is to constitute knowledge of the truth. (…) How can there exist knowledge of the truth of the unknown? (…) the only possibility to clarify this contradiction is (…) that the unconscious thinks. (…) This void is not the void of consciousness (…) it is not Sartre’s «nothingness» (…) and it is why there is an alliance between psychoanalysis and contemporary philosophy against the phenomenological conception of the effect of truth as a conscious effect. (…) Mathematics is the purest example of thinking phased by the void because it obeys the ideals of formalization. I think we can agree with Lacan on this point: Mathematics is the veritable apparatus of localization of the void. (…)
– Alain Badiou. Lacan and Philosophy. ECT Seminar May 27, 2010.